SLIDER

GAUCHO: Going out for dinner post lockdown

Friday, 21 August 2020

Eating out has always been a huge part of my life and before March 23rd, I was doing it almost every other day so having to eat at home 24/7 was particularly hard. It's now been a couple of weeks since bars and restaurants in the UK have been allowed to re-open and I've made the most of it - I've eaten far too much of my own, terrible cooking over the past few months.

I know alot of people are still pretty scared to go out, which is why I wanted to write this post - to share my experience of this weird new world where something that used to be so normal, is now very odd - going for dinner.

black mesh off the shoulder top

Usually, I would double check my bag for my phone, card and keys. Now it's face mask, hand sanitizer and a plastic bag to sit on on the tube. Yes I know that's a bit extreme it but it makes me feel better okay?

Getting on the tube isn't quite as scary as I originally thought. A few weeks into lock down I ordered myself a contactless card because my old school one just wasn't cutting it anymore, obviously, so it's all good on that front and even though the tube is getting busier, I feel safe in terms of social distancing; with my mask firmly on my face and my plastic bag under my butt. I also tie my hair up and am very mindful throughout my journey not to touch anything. 

Sadly, I come across loads of people not wearing a mask.

Gaucho Steak

I got on at South Kensington and headed to Gaucho just a short walk from the station. Not quite full to its normal capacity to every other table, as they were limiting numbers, the place still had its usual buzz. With every other table empty, not only did it feel totally safe in terms of distancing but also a little more luxury than usual with more privacy and space. Being close enough to hear what the next table are talking about is a little pet hate of mine. 

We filled in a track and trace card and then ordered some cocktails! Pornstar martinis and then a little later, strawberry daiquiris. Yum.

passionfruit cocktails

Staff weren't wearing masks or any type of PPE for that matter. They were however, always cautious when getting close or moving things around on the table; not so much that it was a hassle though - just trying to keep their distance which obviously is a good thing right now.

Apart from that, it was pretty normal - just the odd dancing around the tables when walking past people to go to the toilet, but everyone was respectful of each other and we all had a laugh about how strange it was. There were a whole load of Uber eats bags going out through the night so obviously not everyone is as keen to get out just yet.

cocktails and burrata

I can't tell you how good it was to have have a real cocktail (or four), not just vodka and juice from the fridge at home; and also a three course meal. I started with a burrata, which of course was delicious. Then a fillet steak, cooked rare, with fries and mac n cheese on the side. We shared a sticky toffee pudding for dessert and finished up with a fresh mint tea.

By the end of the evening I had forgotten that corona virus was even a problem.

I cant speak for everywhere but Gaucho have done a very good job at maintaining their usual vibe in a safe way.

Have you braved a restaurant yet? 

Wearing my pretty mesh top from femmeluxefinery *gifted

Bicycle Adventures in London

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Now that I've started to settle into the new day to day normal, lack of travel through 2020 has become prominent in my thoughts; and whilst thinking of new ways to fulfill my passion in a safe way, I very quickly realised that there is still so much of London that I haven't explored yet.

I live just east of London, so between work and socialising, I spend alot of my time in Shoreditch, Soho or the city - rarely going further than Marble Arch. London wasn't really somewhere I thought of as an adventure; but I was very wrong there!

As soon as lockdown finished, I decided that if I cant travel (and as such, create content for my blog) the way I used to, then I'm going to make my adventures closer to home. With no choice but to stay put for a little while, I took the opportunity to go a little further out, take a different route and see where I ended up. With trains and buses out of the questions, I grabbed a helmet and hopped on a Boris bike.
Cycling was something I enjoyed so much whilst I was traveling and doing it now means I'm able to see London in all its glory, whilst keeping active (when the gyms were closed) and learning so much along the way. Rather than which station is next, I now actually know how to get from one place to another and what happens in the middle, funnily enough, you miss along when you're underground.

My current route starts at St. Paul's and from there, I head straight down to the river and join the cycle superhighway all the way through to Albert bridge; where I cross over to Battersea park.

Not only are the views on this part of my ride absolutely incredible, along the river, past the London eye and Westminster but this cycle specific road makes biking in London very enjoyable.


Discovering Battersea Park is one of the best things that has come from this whole ordeal. I just love the life inside it and often spend hours and hours there. I dont think I'll ever get bored.

The last leg of my journey is really cool. I found a riverside walkway which takes me all the way though to Wandsworth park and I really enjoy this part. Again, I've never really seen this part of London and I'm finding myself cycle past places that I see on Instagram all the time.

That's about as far as I've got so far but with my laps around the park, I've done as many as 31kms in one trip! I have a couple of friends who live in the area so now that lockdown has been eased a bit, sometimes, my trips are a little more leisurely and finish with a cold drink at the pub!

Things to consider for your first covid trip

Monday, 13 July 2020

As someone who travels as much as I do, this virus has hit me hard. I have now been in the UK since the end of November last year and I am missing the sense of adventure big time. With no plans to leave the country any time soon, it's looking like my next few trips might be more of a staycation; although that's not a terrible thing; I actually think it will be a great excuse to make England more of a priority and see what else my home has to offer other than the hustle and bustle of London.

This past weekend, I took my first trip since everything went crazy and it was pretty great actually. I've got a separate post about what I got up to but it's definitely got me excited for more UK travel and just travel as a whole again, I guess I kinda just forgot about it with everything that's been happening. Now that I've got my first Covid trip under my belt, I'm hoping to see Manchester and Newcastle at some point this year, maybe a cute trip to a holiday cottages in Devon and also do some more coastal trips to the likes of Bournemouth and hopefully back to Brighton again as well!


Here are a few new things we needed to consider for our first post covid day trip!

Drive if possible
Trains have been okay from what I've experienced so far but for an actual trip, rather than just going into London for example, I'd always prefer to go in a car. We rented a hire car for 3 days at £70 which was pretty similar in price for both of us to get train tickets but driving means that you're in your own space and there's no stress with spreading germs, wearing face masks, being scared to touch anything etc.

Plan your accommodation
This is something I don't often do but it's not a smart idea right now. Hotels are now allowed to open from 4th July but just because they can, doesn't mean they all will so it may be harder and more expensive than usual to find somewhere to stay.

Stock up on snacks
Eating wasn't sure a problem as much as eating what I wanted to eat. Not many places were open and all that we could find were greasy spoons and Mcdonalds which was a shame because as you know, eating is a huge part of why I like to travel so much. I was pleased to have snacks on me (I'm always pleased to have snacks on me to be fair) because there were a couple of time where it took us a while to find places to eat. Sadly, it's not as easy as it used to be to pop to the shop or a restaurant to find some food so it's also good to research any particular restaurants you might want to visit beforehand as well.

Research your activities
Most things are not going to be running as usual, some might still not be open at all so make sure you have a look online before you leave to avoid disappointment. We wanted to visit a war memorial and almost had a panic when we arrived; turns out it was just the car park that was closed due to Covid so luckily we were still able to have a wander around once we found somewhere else to park.

Carry your PPE
We did have to get one taxi after our 11km hike and although the driver couldn't care less, I was very pleased to have my face mask in my bag and hand gel for once I got out.

I can't lie, travel isn't the same as it was before and there were a couple of times that I felt a little on edge, mainly because of other peoples attitude towards it but it won't be like this forever and I'm excited for whatever adventure is next!
Are your planning to travel any time soon?

*In collaboration with Hotels.com, but all views are my own.

How I've been keeping busy during lockdown

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Considering I've suffered with my mental health in the past, I was not looking forward to what the announcement of lock down in the UK was going to do to my head. But weeks and weeks have passed and I've learnt the the key to a healthy headspace is keeping as busy as possible!

I have been staying very positive and strangely enough, I've actually been enjoying myself at home - for the most part. This weird situation has meant I've had to be creative and been trying all sorts of things I wouldn't have otherwise even considered.

Exercise

I hardly ever did any exercise at home before this but it's what I've been spending most of my time doing and I've actually seen an improvement as well which is awesome - my body definitely looks different to how it did at the start of lock down! Whether it's a resistance band workout in my room, walking the dog or taking my new skipping rope to the park, it's something I'm really enjoying.

TikTok

Like everyone else my age, I downloaded TikTok just to watch, and I wont lie, I have watched alot; but that lasted all of about 3 hours and now I very much enjoy making my own stupid videos as well. Luckily, I can now spend a whole afternoon learning one dance and have absolutely no guilt about wasting time. I've got just over 1400 followers at the moment and I'm loving learning how to use the app better and better every day.

Here's my first go with outfit change transitions with a new delivery from Femme Luxe


@georginadoes which is your favourite? ##fyp ##fashion ##loungewear ##foryou
♬ Sick and Tired - iann dior




Cooking

Yes, of course I tried banana bread but after everyone got bored of eating that, my brother suggested we try fresh pasta. You know whats fun? Cooking without proper equipment. Can anyone else say they've made banana bread without a loaf tin or ravioli, without a rolling pin? In these hard times, we make do with what we've got... and we had wine bottles so that would have to do.


Knitting 

I have decided to try and knit myself a jumper and this project has been all consuming. I have been taking it to the park with me and with my favorite playlist on, hours just pass by. I picked this lovely, thick yellow yarn and so far as I can see, it's going to make for a very heavy, cosy jumper. I'm excited! Supplies kindly gifted from LoveCrafts.com


feet pics

Debuting my awesome new glasses on the blog too! These were gifted and came they from Glasses Shop who currently have a load of promotions on if you're looking for new glasses

Day Dreaming 

I spent a whole lot of time daydreaming. Of what I want to eat, where I want to go and who I want to see when this is all over.

This is the longest I've been in the country in the past 5 or 6 years I'd say and yes, of course I'm missing my travels. I'd love to visit Cambodia when everything is safe again although maybe 2020 is the year to see a bit more of the UK too.

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Going to a gig in a foreign country

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

I've already spent a whole load of time in Thailand but once I found out that Bring Me The Horizon were playing in Bangkok during the dates I wanted to travel, there was no question about the destination of my very last minute holiday! Flying across the world to see my favourite band play live is now something I will always be proud of myself for doing, by myself.

Being in a country where English isn't their Mother Tongue, (that was a bring me the horizon pun guys sorry haha) it wasn't quite so simple; but I wouldn't exactly say it was hard either so I wanted to share my experience for anyone nervous to do the same!



No one in Bangkok center had heard of the venue and a lot of the local taxi drivers refused to even acknowledge me when I asked. Google was also not much help so in the end, I just put the address into Grab and hoped for the best.

We went about half hour out of town but I knew I was in the right place when I spotted a humongous line of people queuing along a road, totally dressed in black. I didn't realise they had such a big Thai following.



The venue itself was awesome. An open air arena; just off of the motorway by the side of a big mall I think. I was just glad that it even existed by the time I got there.

I guess I took it for granted that most of places in Thailand are well catered for English speakers but what I hadn't planned for was the fact that everything was in Thai - I mean I was one of about 5 white people there so it made sense - there was no need for English. I soon realised that if I wanted to know what was going on I was just going to have to ask people - which I did. New found confidence that came with solo travel definitely helped.

This lead me to meet Aida, another girl wandering around alone, also as confused as me - but she was Thai, which was a real help, at least she could understand what was going on. We stuck together for the rest of the night.



I had no idea what was happening when one of the staff ushered us from the back of the very long queue to the ticket pick up point but obviously I wasn't going to stop her. I did have a mini panic when I got to the front of the queue and they asked for ID, which I didn't have but they were happy with a photo of my passport so it was short lived.

We got our tickets and since somehow skipping about a 3000 people in that queue, ran straight up to the front gates of our zone. I was worried about getting stuck in a mosh pit so being right at the front of the zone definitely helped me feel safer - turns out that the Thai crowd are nowhere near as rowdy as Londoners so it wasn't a problem anyway.



For BMTH fans, it wasn't part of the Amo tour so they played a whole load of songs from different albums which was amazing because their new stuff sounds SO different from the older songs. They opened with their new song, Ludens which means I was there for its first live performance. Pretty cool.

Afterwards, Aida and I swapped Instagram's and followed the crowd outside. She took me to the taxi rank and made sure I found a cab before she got a train home which was really sweet.

Getting back to the city center was much easier. After haggling with the driver to less than half of what he wanted, he dropped me off back to Khao San Road and then locked me in the car since I didn't have the right change. Not quite as terrifying as it sounds - he took my 1000 baht note and ran into 711 to get change, smiling and waving at me from the counter.

After giving him some cash, I took the rest of my money for noodles and bubble tea as I walked back to my hostel.

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